Approved for 12+

Once Upon a Summer

Is there anything sweeter than childhood memories? Not for Lisa and Andy. Years ago these cousins and best friends were inseparable, creating adventures that would last a lifetime. Now as adults they have gone their separate ways. But when Andy receives some devastating news and Lisa's life is on the verge of falling apart, they reconnect. Looking to their past to face the present, they must overcome their challenges with the faith that inspired them as children.
Negative Rating
Positive Rating

Dove Review

**This review is contributed by Super Channel–a channel dedicated to providing integrity and accountability in today’s entertainment.

This is a beautiful celebration of a life-long friendship that sees two people through to the very end of life for Andy, who dies from cancer, and a new beginning for Lisa, who decides not to end her marriage. It’s a mixture of adults and adult situations, and two adorable young girls who are Trouble 1 and Trouble 2 as named by Grandpa, who eventually each go their own way. When met with life-changing circumstances as adults, they meet again after many years, and reminisce through their happy childhood days with flashbacks to being kids and reliving that wonderful unique friendship.

Two little girls, Lisa and Andy, the best of friends and cousins…summer fun 1978. Nostalgic scenes of playing at the lake, on swings, sharing good times. But life gets in the way and they lose touch. Now adults, high-powered lawyer Lisa heads down the wrong path, leaving her husband Rob to juggle their two kids. Rob begs her to come home, but after much arguing, he signs divorce papers.

Andy has a nice home, a lovely little daughter, and a good husband who always kisses her goodbye. But one day, something goes wrong. She begins to feel dizzy, staggering around. On a run, she passes out on the street. With her world spinning, she has a flashback to when Lisa and Andy were kids…she wakes in the hospital. She tries to discuss her dream, being a kid with Lisa playing in the pond, but for now, the doctor is more concerned with her potassium levels.

Back to Lisa– she just made partner in the firm. Her colleague encourages her in the divorce. After all, she doesn’t need a “stay-at-home dad” to drag her down…

Meanwhile, the doctor has bad news for Andy: she has an aggressive form of cancer and no treatments will help.

Andy calls Lisa, sobbing….there is no hope. With only a few months to live, what can Lisa do? Andy wants to meet at the pond of their childhood. Lisa will be there….she hangs up, devastated by the awful news. Lisa drops all her appointments and heads to the pond where Andy is waiting on the swings. They have not seen each other for years, but their tender reunion is nostalgic and reflective…lots of laughs. But Andy is so scared, and even though Lisa tries to comfort her, there is nothing she can do to save her.

Lisa and Andy continue to reminisce as they sit on the swings at the pond. They are laughing and reliving the good and the bad as seen through the eyes of children. More flashbacks to spending summer with Grandma and Grandpa, both a little rough around the edges but good, caring grandparents, and making lots of money with a lemonade stand because they put vodka in the drink…they heard Grandma say “it adds pizzazz to your drink”. Offended neighborhood parents scold the girls and try to shame the grandparents. Grandpa tries to be stern with the girls but he can’t stop laughing, and that leads to Grandma laughing and the girls are forgiven.

Grandpa teases the girls about encountering Charlie’s ghost at the pond, but the girls think he’s trying to scare them. When Charlie’s ghost, a young boy who drowned in the pond in 1936 suddenly does appear, the girls are frightened but sweetly help Charlie to accept that he is dead and that he can allow himself to go to Heaven where it’s peaceful and he can play in the sun all day, see his Grandma, and wait there for his mom.

Lisa and Andy are hugging at the pond in a tearful goodbye forever. Lisa comes home. Rob is sitting on the couch; the papers are signed. Lisa is crying. The couple hug as the kids are watching through the railing from upstairs and smiling. “She’s back!” Thanks to Andy’s beautiful legacy, Lisa can fulfill her greatest accomplishment: reuniting her family and realizing what truly matters in life.

The Dove Take:

Forever friendships are priceless, and when supported by a solid faith, they can sustain us through tragic loss while simultaneously building something new.

Dove Rating Details


Photo of Jesus on the wall; children refer to a deceased loved one being in heaven


young boy talks about a dead bird that someone killed; boys are pelting the girls with water balloons and taunting them; Lisa punches bully in the face; the girls rub chocolate cake into the faces of the bullies


Grandma jokingly refers to herself as sexy in front of the church elders, both young men; garishly-dressed woman tucks money in her bra through her sleeve opening


man is called a “tender buzzard”; you are a looker, bite my tongue and call me naughty; reference to deadbeat father in anger to a child; calling adult sons Hellions; word “dang”


young boy talks about a dead bird that someone killed; boys are pelting the girls with water balloons and taunting them; Lisa punches bully in the face; the girls rub chocolate cake into the faces of the bullies


Grandma hangs an unlit cigarette out of her mouth in almost every scene, and on one occasion, lights it and blows smoke into the faces of the bully boys and their complaining mom; the girls put liquor in the lemonade at their lemonade stand; Grandpa drinks beer; Grandma likes her vodka




Mormon faith-based references, young mother is dying of cancer with no hope; young boy’s ghost appears suddenly with eerie background music; couple is divorcing.

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